Felix-Joseph Barbelin

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The Reverend Felix-Joseph Barbelin, S.J., (30 May 1808 – 8 June 1869) was a 19th-century Jesuit priest influential in the development of the Catholic community in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the United States.[1] Styled the "Apostle of Philadelphia", Barbelin was born at Lunéville, (then in the Province of Meurthe, now Meurthe-et-Moselle), in the Alsatian region of France, and died in Philadelphia.

Barbelin was the oldest of six children, of whom five became religious, his youngest brother, Ignace-Xavier, being the founder of the Apostolic School at Amiens. Emigrating to the United States early in his life, he entered the Society of Jesus on 7 January 1831, at their novitiate in White Marsh, Maryland. Subsequent to that, for some years he was stationed at Georgetown University, where he served as disciplinarian and professor of French.

In 1836 he became assistant pastor of Holy Trinity Church in the Georgetown section of Washington, D.C., and in 1838 was transferred to Philadelphia. For more than a quarter of a century he was pastor of Old St. Joseph's Church, Willing's Alley, which became, mainly during his term of office, the centre from which radiated Catholic influences throughout the city and diocese. He founded Saint Joseph's Hospital in his adopted city, and was the first to establish sodalities for men and women and for the young. In 1852 he was appointed the first President of Saint Joseph's College, which is now known as Saint Joseph's University. Barbelin Hall at that university is named in his honor.


 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "article name needed". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton.